Yes, the new bumps to the Mini are interesting and expected (and the new Mini based server will be a most interesting product to watch, keep an eye on that on) It’s the new iMac line that’s worthy of attention. The latest incarnation of the new all in one desktops is nothing short of breathtaking. While the design is familiar, the new aesthetics make it look more like something from an Apple concept lab than a commercial PC. Available in just two sizes, 21 and 27 screens, it’s the 27″ model that will stand out, there’s no doubt that when many customers walk into the Apple store, that’s the model that will have driven them there and the one they’re going to want to drive home with. Once again, Apple keeps price points and features balanced and flexible but there’s always a reason to go for the upsell. My advice, unless you’re either very budget or space constrained, go for the $1699 27″ model. The larger screen, extra HD and discrete graphics or worth the relatively small upsell. What’s even more interesting is the quad based $1,999 model that also includes an somewhat better ATI GPU. I suspect with a 16gb limit, the iMac is no longer a consumer or even a pro-sumer product anymore. I suspect more than a few professionals who might have worried about bumping into the iMac limits are going to be very comfortable with this new model.
Apple’s also added a few other new goodies. First, the Bluetooth wireless keyboard is now standard. Even better is Apple’s new Magic Moue. A wireless, Bluetooth mouse that fully supports multi touch. It looks odd at first and like the glass trackpads, the best way to use the new mouse is just use it, it works the way you think it should. There’s a right click available as well as a swipe and of course scroll. Scroll is 360 and works seamlessly. Even the fabulous two finger scroll is there (and will recognize one or two fingers so users coming from Macbook heritage will feel at home. By keeping multi-touch focused carefully into the command and control and resisting putting a touch screen on computer, Apple avoids the trap of making touch something that’s more gratuitous gimmick and something instead that enhances an OS that was designed long before touch concepts were even possible.
One other interesting feature is the display port is bi-directional, the first time I’ve seen this. Not only can you easily add a second monitor but you can actually now use a Macbook to output to the 27″ display. That’s going to open up some rather interesting usage scenarios. I’ll have full review over the next few days but so far, this one’s a winner.
Bottom line? The product updates are clearly evolutionary with some radical new design and feature elements. At a time when Microsoft is going to be talking Windows 7, Apple has upped the ante for what a premium computing experience is all about and has set themselves very nicely for the holiday buying season.